Two China threat deniers leave the Obama administration


Two highly-ranking officials responsible for handling East Asian affairs left the Obama administration a few days ago. These two officials were reputed to be China threat deniers – blind about the Chinese government’s intentions towards the US and its allies, desperate to please Beijing, and determined to hide from the public the scale of the Chinese military buildup. The officials in question are Paul Heer, former national intelligence officer for East Asia, and Evan Medeiros, a “senior China specialist for the White House.”

For many years, China realists – including this author – have been working hard to reveal the true nature of China’s military buildup and its bellicose intentions towards the US and its allies. We have been toiling hard for several years now to obtain, and share with the public, the facts about Chinese military capabilities and intentions, rather than China threat deniers’ spin and wishful thinking.

Have you ever wondered, Dear Readers, why the Pentagon, the State Department, and the intelligence community have been dramatically downplaying the Chinese military threat for the last decade, especially under the Obama administration?

It was because many highly-ranking administration officials – up to and including then-SECDEF Robert M. Gates, then-SECSTATE Hillary R. Clinton, and these two officials – Paul Heer and Evan Medeiros – blinded by their naivete towards China – were determined to play down and hide China’s military capabilities and aggressive designs from the public.

That is why the US military and the State Department have been very late and very slow to respond to China’s huge military buildup. This is why key weapon platforms, including the F-22 Raptor, that would’ve effectively countered China’s military capabilities, were killed. This is why report after report from US government agencies – as well as administration officials’ rhetoric – was dramatically downplaying China’s military capabilities and offensive designs. This is why the US federal government was completely surprised – time after time – by China’s new weapon platforms, tests, and military capabilities.

But now that these officials have left the administration, the policy is slowly changing, as is the rhetoric. As Bill Gertz reports:

“The Obama administration appears to be in the early phase of a policy shift on China. Tougher rhetoric and policies, most recently demonstrated by remarks in Asia from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, coincide with the departures of two key officials long known for advocating more conciliatory policies toward Beijing.

Paul Heer, who for years held the influential post of national intelligence officer for East Asia, retired recently, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. From his position as the most senior intelligence official on China, Mr. Heer was known for a steadfast bias that sought to play down the various threats posed by China in favor of more conciliatory views. His influence also is said to have extended to personnel appointments within the CIA’s analytical section, which critics say resulted in “groupthink” on China.

A second major personnel change was the departure last week of the White House’s senior China specialist, Evan Medeiros, who left after a reported dispute with White House National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice. Ms. Rice has a reputation as a prickly manager known for swearing profusely at subordinates. Mr. Medeiros was regarded by critics as among the most pro-China policymakers in the White House’s highly centralized foreign policy and national security power structure.

Congressional Republicans have said Mr. Medeiros was behind the White House decision several years ago to deny sales of advanced U.S. F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan to bolster its flagging air forces.

Mr. Medeiros, in academic writings before his White House posting, has asserted that the Chinese military posed little or no threat and that Beijing’s policies are generally benign.”

One should not celebrate too jubilantly yet, but this may be the first step in the right direction.

Also in the last few days, following China’s test of its WU-14 hypersonic strike weapon, some commentators have repeated the usual ballyhoo that the missile designed to carry it – the DF-41 ICBM – is only “in development” and not deployed yet, whereas it has already been deployed; and that the Chinese would have a heck of a time sinking an American aircraft carrier, even with anti-ship missiles, because the Chinese would need to detect the carrier, keep tracking it, guide the missiles towards it, correct the guidance midcourse because the carrier is moving, and then, overwhelm the carrier group’s defenses.

But detecting American aircraft carriers – the largest ships in the world – is extremely easy, especially with the Over-the-Horizon radars China has, and guiding missiles towards it won’t be difficult, either, using those radars, as well as satellites… not to mention Sunburn or Sizzler hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, which can be carried by Chinese surface ships, submarines, aircraft, and coastal platforms.

Visit this site regularly, Dear Readers, for more updates on China’s military buildup.

7 thoughts on “Two China threat deniers leave the Obama administration”

  1. “This is why key weapon platforms, including the F-22 Raptor, that would’ve effectively countered China’s military capabilities, were killed.”

    F-22 alone could’ve never countered Chinese military buildup – it is too expensive. Unfortunately, some idiots have decided to go for an “ultra high – high” mix of F-22 and F-35 to replace the “high – low” mix of F-15 and F-16. What US need instead of the F-16 is something most like Saab Gripen – not necessarily the best platform around, but good enough to do the job and cheap enough to deploy in numbers. It also needs to replace the A-10 with another CAS-capable platform, but this one should be more survivable and carrier-capable.

    1. “F-22 alone could’ve never countered Chinese military buildup – it is too expensive.”

      I’ve never claimed that. I’ve written – and rightly so – that it was to be one of the key ELEMENTS of a technological strategy countering China’s military buildup. BTW, the “low” part of the high-low mix would be utterly useless against China, a country that possesses one of the most capable air defense systems in the world and some of the best fighters in the world, both high-tech and high-power jets (Su-27/30/J-11/15/16) and lower-tech, simple, agile jets (J-7, J-10), with an Su-35 purchase recently signed and the introduction of the J-20 and the J-31 planned later this decade.

      In any case, let me say it clearly: I never claimed the F-22 was a wunderwaffe and a solve-all-problems weapon – only an element of a much bigger picture, though a very important element.

      1. “I’ve never claimed that. I’ve written – and rightly so – that it was to be one of the key ELEMENTS of a technological strategy countering China’s military buildup.”

        Agreed, but I’d say that at least part of the problem with Western military procurement is focus on high-cost weapons. Everyone talks about F-22, F-35, LCS… while ignoring cheaper things and options (like possibility to restart the F-16 line or buy some Gripens to stave off fighter gap, installing IRST and modern EW suites on the F-15/16/18 to enable them to counter stealth fighters until a replacement can be properly introduced, adressing lack of proper coastal and brown-water ships in USN or the need to replace assault rifle with something designed for battlefield conditions as opposed to airfield protection etc.).

        “BTW, the “low” part of the high-low mix would be utterly useless against China,”

        Depends on phase of the war, and what you define as “low”. If you take Rafale or Gripen NG, they may have issues with Chinese ADS, but assuming that F-22s can eliminate or at least supress it, they would be able to counter any of the jets you have listed.

        “In any case, let me say it clearly: I never claimed the F-22 was a wunderwaffe and a solve-all-problems weapon – only an element of a much bigger picture, though a very important element.”

        Agreed. And now LM is trying to sell the F-35 as a solve-all-wunderwaffe, despite the fact that it was never designed for aerial combat… while I’m left wondering why FB-22 and naval F-22 were never pursued (granted, naval F-22 might be troublesome considering chronic lack of deck and hangar space on even nuclear carriers, but if you want to deal with enemy ADS, especially mobile one, FB-22 would be a far better option than the F-35, seeing as supercruise is an inherent part of the F-22s stealth concept).

      2. “while I’m left wondering why FB-22 and naval F-22 were never pursued (granted, naval F-22 might be troublesome considering chronic lack of deck and hangar space on even nuclear carriers, but if you want to deal with enemy ADS, especially mobile one, FB-22 would be a far better option than the F-35, seeing as supercruise is an inherent part of the F-22s stealth concept).”

        That’s all true, and the answer why the FB-22 and the F-22N were never pursued is simple: politics and budget penny-pinching. The same reason why the F-22A was truncated at 187 aircraft. Bob Gates, in particular, was so myopically and singularly obsessed with Iraq and Afghanistan that he didn’t care about anything else.

        Regarding China’s ADS, there is never going to be a moment when it’s gonna be “surpressed”, allowing nonstealthy aircraft to operate safely over Chinese airspace. You are essentially re-stating here the decades-old, and now hopelessly obsolete, American way of thinking about non-Western ADS. Perish the thought! China’s ADS are all highly mobile and can hide, and attack from, anywhere. They’re not static medieval fortifications that you only have to raze once. If, during e.g. the first two months of an air campaign against China, Russia, or any PRC or Russian client you take down e.g. 50 S-300/S-400/HQ-9/SA-11/HQ-2 batteries, you can never be certain you’ve destroyed all IADS batteries that they possessed. They may still have some, hiding and waiting for a perfect opportunity to “shoot and scoot.” In other words, VLO will be a requirement for the duration of the entire campaign against the PRC, Russia, or one of their clients – assuming, of course, they follow the traditional Russian “hide, shoot, and scoot” tactics – which neither the Syrians nor the Iraqis nor the Libyans ever did.

      3. “Bob Gates, in particular, was so myopically and singularly obsessed with Iraq and Afghanistan that he didn’t care about anything else.”

        Maybe, but that brings the issue of A-10. If he really were so obsessed with Iraq and Afghanistan, he should have done more to preserve the A-10 seeing as it is the best Close Air Support platform in the West.

        “China’s ADS are all highly mobile and can hide, and attack from, anywhere. They’re not static medieval fortifications that you only have to raze once.”

        Which is why I said “suppressed” and not “destroyed”. I’m well aware that it will be nigh-impossible to destroy Chinese ADS, especially if aircraft are only allowed to fly at 20.000+ ft, but you can make them worry more about possibiity of something dropping on their heads than about shooting down aircraft.

      4. China’s ADS will not even be surpressed – unless, by “surpressing” it, you mean destroying some of their SAM batteries while a large part of these still exist and are still lying in ambush somewhere.

        As for Gates, he never even entertained the A-10’s retirement. It was not until Gates’s own retirement that the DOD seriously began entertaining mothballing the A-10.

      5. “China’s ADS will not even be surpressed – unless, by “surpressing” it, you mean destroying some of their SAM batteries while a large part of these still exist and are still lying in ambush somewhere.”

        Supressing does not mean destroying ADS but denying it freedom of action. If SAMs are lying in ambush, that’s fine as long as they remain that way.

        “As for Gates, he never even entertained the A-10’s retirement. It was not until Gates’s own retirement that the DOD seriously began entertaining mothballing the A-10.”

        I see. BTW, from an article I have just read, it seems that Obama may push for the A-10s retirement. I can’t say I ever liked the guy, but if he does it, I’m going to start to seriously hate him.

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